Volunteer Rescuers Need Public Support - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Volunteer Rescuers Need Public Support

It's a volunteer organization dedicated to finding missing people.

 Since Katrina, members of Gulf Coast Search and Rescue say they've realized how much better prepared they need to be for future natural disasters.

 However, getting the proper equipment and training takes money.

 A fundraiser held by the group on Friday and Saturday highlighted how their mission has evolved since the storm.

Carlos Redmon has been working with Dakota since he was a puppy.

"He is trained to do cadaver work on recovery of human remains as well as live victims," said Redmon.

Dakota's training allows him to pick up the scent of drowning victims, lost children, Alzheimer's patients, or anyone else who has gone missing.

 After Katrina, Gulf Coast Search and Rescue depended on Dakota and six other specially trained dogs to locate the bodies of hurricane victims buried under collapsed buildings.

 It was then emergency workers realized they weren't prepared enough for natural disasters.

"After Katrina we realized that we really needed special boots, special helmets, special gloves and suits to do this kind of work because you're working around hazardous material so you have to have special training," said Redmon.

 Meeting those special needs requires money which was the reason behind this fundraiser at the Harrison County fairgrounds.

"This is very important for us to raise money," said Redmon. "The only way that we get it is by going to the public and getting donations. Having fundraisers is to buy the equipment to equip our teams to go out and do the work. "

Six months ago the East Harrison County Volunteer Fire Department became part of this volunteer organization.

 They see a need for emergency workers across the coast to pool their resources in an effort to be less dependent on outside organizations.

Chief Charles Wise said "With all of us working together and being able to do the search and rescue with collapsed buildings or whatever may happen with the storm. The Urban Search and Rescue Teams were able to come in assist us post Katrina. We're going to be able to work together and be able to do that here locally rather than have to wait for the teams to come in and assist us."

by Danielle Thomas

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